Azerbaijan to mark 24th anniversary of January 20 massacre

By Nigar Orujova

Azerbaijani government has approved a series of events to mark the 24th anniversary of January 20 tragedy.

The order issued by the Presidential Administration's head envisages holding events, conferences, and meetings, as well as delivering lectures. The events will be covered by mass media.

Azerbaijani government also plans to spread information about the bloody "20 January" in the leading mass media of the world, as well as TV channels and internet websites.

Hundreds of civilians were crushed or injured by the Soviet troops in Baku on January 20, 1990, under an order from the USSR leadership that was trying to maintain the Communist regime in Azerbaijan and strangle the national liberation movement.

To draw the attention of the world community to the tragedy, a series of events will be held by Azerbaijan's embassies, diplomatic missions and Azerbaijani communities abroad.

Humanitarian aid will also be rendered to the families of the 20 January victims, redevelopment woks will be carried out around the Alley of Martyrs, a special lesson will be given at all educational institutions, and the country's major religious confessions will hold special religious ceremonies dedicated to the victims.

The victims will be commemorated by a minute of silence on January 20. The ships, cars and trains will also sound their horns at noon.

Appropriate events has been adopted in Azerbaijan's different cities and regions.

The state flags will be lowered in Azerbaijan as a sign of mourning on the day.

Late at night on January 20, 1990, some 26,000 Soviet special forces called "Alfa" entered Baku without declaring a state of emergency and committed atrocities against the innocent Azerbaijani people. The invasion was launched at midnight and was committed with brutality; even children, women and the elderly were not spared.

In total, some 133 people were killed, 611 wounded, 841 illegally arrested and five went missing as a result of the intrusion of troops into Baku and other regions of the republic.